Monday, November 30, 2015

Sellers Were Asking: Empty Nest?

Many of us are now at an age where children are beginning to leave home and make lives of their own. So, what are you going to do with all of those spare bedrooms? 
One option is to downsize. Sell the family home and move into a smaller home, perhaps a townhouse or condo apartment. Many empty nesters are also turning to renovations and are coming up with a variety of ideas to efficiently use all that empty space. A home office is one idea. Many people are retiring and turning to independent consulting and need a room to work. 
For those who prefer hobbies, leave the dining room table for eating and take it upstairs. Create a work room for scrap booking, painting and sewing for all those new grandchildren. Or fight the middle-aged spread with an exercise room. 
If you do spend a lot of time with grandchildren, consider turning an old bedroom into a playroom. Paint the walls in colourful designs. This prevents the spread of toys to the entire house. 
Or, take down a wall and enlarge your master. Get the bathroom of your dreams and add a sitting area for reading. 
The choice is yours and the options endless! You can always simply redecorate current bedrooms and keep them for when the children come home again. Only to visit, of course!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sellers Were Asking: The Dreaded Linen Closet

When selling your home, every little detail counts and that includes a clean and tidy linen closet. You'd better believe potential buyers will look into every nook and cranny and that definitely includes closets! The linen closet tends to be a catch all, particularly when storage is at a premium. Linens, unused pillows, towels, board games, old toiletries and much more often ends up here. 

To start the tidy up, empty your closet and separate items. Put all bed linens together, all towels together etc, until the closet is entirely empty. Then start to weed out. Ask yourself:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Can this be stored elsewhere?
  • When did I last use it?
  • When will I ever use it again?
Then, make a clean sweep. Be brutal. Really. How many ratty old towels do you really need? 

Ideally, once finished all that remains should be linens you actually have use for. Then, pile in neat rows so potential buyers will not only stand in awe at the spaciousness of your closet, but will marvel at what a wonderful housekeeper you are.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sellers Were Asking: A Memorable Home

When potential buyers view your home, you want them to leave excited and thinking "I could definitely live here!"
Vendors need to make their houses memorable and one of the best ways to do this is to keep it as clean and neat as is humanly possible. Scrub the house from top to bottom and hire a cleaning service to help if you don't have the time to do it yourself. 
A freshly painted and washed exterior can do wonders if it was previously looking old and tired. Powerwash vinyl siding and mow the lawn. Clean up spider webs, clean windows until they sparkle and make sure all toys and tools are put away. You don't want potential buyers to trip. 
Make a statement right away with a welcoming entranceway. Each room can adopt its own personality without becoming too dramatic. Make sure the hardwood gleams and add a coat of paint where necessary as it does wonders for little work and expense. 
The kitchen is especially important. Clear away all clutter, fix leaky faucets and change hardware for an inexpensive facelift. 
Of course, there's always the old standby - flowers. A tasteful floral arrangement will brighten any room. 
Give us a call if we can help you!
If you're looking for some referrals, to help you get the work done, visit our directory of preferred contacts on our website! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: Debt Reduction

One of the most exciting facts about buying a home is that you're now about to start building equity, ensuring your money now begins to work for you.  With that said, you might be a little concerned over this huge debt you've just taken on.  
There are ways though that you can effectively manage your debt(s).  Before agreeing to sign on with a lender, ask lots of questions about the prepayment options.  One of the best ways to decrease your debt and to reduce your interest costs is to increase the frequency of your payments.  Not only will you pay less in interest, you will pay the debt off faster.  
Contrary to popular belief, paying your mortgage off as quickly as you can is not always your smartest plan.  What?  Yes, you read correctly.  Pay off your most expensive debt first.  Often, this is your visa.  The debt you want to attack is the one with the highest interest rate.  If you're prone to run a balance on the visa, use the money you were going to throw on the mortgage to eliminate the visa debt and then, keep it under control.  Get in the habit of paying the balance of your visa when the bill comes in.  
Once you've paid off your most expensive debt, apply the same strategy to your next highest debt and so on until you've worked through all debts but the mortgage.  Once you've learnt to keep your highest interest rate debts under control, you can then begin to plan to escalate that debt reduction.  
Good luck and good planning!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: What To Do Before You Buy a House

Many potential first time home buyers are full of questions....
  • Will prices continue to increase at current rate?
  • Will interest rates also increase and by how much?
  • Will the economy continue to do well?
Such questions can definitely be overwhelming. If you're thinking about buying a home in 2016, there are a few preparations that should be made. If you know where you want to buy, log onto the MLS to familiarize yourself with house prices in that area. Determine how much will be needed for a down payment and approximately how much your monthly payments will be. Make a budget now with that in mind and live as if you have a mortgage and taxes to pay. Put money into a bank account to use toward a down payment. Avoid making major purchases as not only will it add to your debt load, but may cause the bank to reduce the mortgage amount offered. 

Most important, get pre-approved. This will give you the benefit of knowing what your price range is and will prove an asset when you make an offer as sellers look more favourably on those who have been pre-approved as opposed to those who have not. Give us a call if we can help you!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Buyers Were Asking: Are You Ready to Buy?


Buying a home is an enormous responsibility and most people go back and forth before they make the final decision to purchase.  Even once the final decision is made, it's perfectly normal to feel unsure of the decision.  You may be asking yourself:
  • "Am I making the right choice?"
  • "Am I really ready to buy my first home?"
  • "Should I sell and purchase a larger home?"
  • "Is it really time to downsize?"
To help put your mind at ease, there are certain details people who are ready to buy will recognize. They usually have been following the market and know what type of home they want and approximately how much they will have to pay for it. They also have a good indication of what they can expect to get for their current home if they have one to sell. People who are ready to purchase also are generally aware of their financial situation and what they can spend. Of course, the best indicator is enough money for a down payment and closing costs and the always important preapproval from the bank. In that case, it's time to go home shopping. Give us a call if you're ready to start looking!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

As a young boy I can remember going to Sunnybrook Veterans hospital to visit my Dad who constantly seemed to be having an "operation" to relieve the pain from his war wounds. At the time it was hard for me and my 3 brothers to understand why my father was in so much pain, always took prescribed drugs, or seldom was able to play ball with us. Hockey and golf were out of the question. He had served in France, survived Dunkirk. Then commando trained in Scotland while everyone waited for the invasion that was to come. Dispatched to North Africa to join the battle against Rommel. My father never really talked about what happened, until near his death. History tells us that the battle of El Alamein was a great victory for the Allied forces. There were 12 days of fierce fighting from late October to early November 1942. Casualties were high and the victory was significant. Churchill was to say, "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat."
That victory for my dad meant: capture, escape, and a life filled by 38 operations in an attempt to stop the constant pain, plus his final battle with Melanoma. There was no such thing as sun bloc in those days for the fair haired boys in the tropic sun.
Diagnosed as terminal my dad called me and we spoke about how he would like to die and be remembered. He asked that he not be kept alive if he was not able to think and reason. He said to me ' I am at peace with my God and myself. When the time comes... lets me go." When I asked what he meant by "at peace" he told me that war is hell and although he had suffered all of his adult life he was able to see his four boys grow up...but because of his actions many men never don't take prisoners when you are behind enemy lines blowing up fuel depots and poisoning watering holes...everything dies. I cannot begin to image the frequent nightmares my father had....He asked me to maintain a membership in the legion and to honour all soldiers from all wars. He wrote on his final note to me "We fought so you could live in freedom."
Thank you Dad and thank you to all those who choose to serve in our armed forces.
On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour take 2 minutes to say thanks. For although they may be gone they are not forgotten.